It is no doubt one of the hottest gifts this Christmas with only limited stock available across the country, I am of course talking about the LeapPad Ultra. As you know we are loyal LeapFrog supporters and we’ve been big fans of the original LeapPad Explorer (and the LeapPad 2) since they first came out, our children absolutely love playing on the LeapPad and they are learning so much through the special learning games and apps. So what exactly is it about the new LeapPad Ultra that has people talking and the internet buzzing, isn’t it just another slightly different version of the same design?
Well I am glad to tell you that no, it is not. The exciting new LeapPad Ultra (Ages 4-9) takes the kids learning tablet to a whole new level with a bunch of fabulous features you have not seen on any similar device before. My first impression of the LeapPad Ultra was that it was very solid; it’s bigger, heavier, fancier than any other children’s tablet I have seen. The kid tough design is created with real children in mind and is drop tested to make sure it is durable and strong. The high resolution, full colour 7-inch touch screen is almost the size of an iPad Mini and very attractive to look at, a stylus is attached so it can’t get lost.
Probably the most impressive feature of the LeapPad Ultra is the ability to access a child-safe web environment through WiFi. Now like most parents I immediately thought of all the dangers of internet access for youngsters but after seeing the LeapPad Ultra in action I was very relieved. Yes children can go on the internet (if enabled by parents) but they are only able to view selected content that has been thoroughly screened and tested to be appropriate for young users.
Through the LeapSearch application children can learn all about wild animals, see how to do exciting science experiments, fun craft projects and yummy recipes, watch videos about the cutest pets or cool sports, explore different countries, practise magic tricks, admire their favourite princesses and much more whilst staying safely within the borders of the protected online environment. All the popular kids themes are covered and ‘browsing’ the different topics has been made simple with the use of easy-to-understand symbols. I really like how this encourages kids to study their own interests but also widen their horizon and look into new things they may have never even heard of before.
Aside from the world of knowledge that is waiting to be discovered in the LeapSearch area I am particularly excited about the Calendar application. Kids can add events by using symbols (birthday cake, bus trip, presents etc) as well as type a note about each event. The Calendar app is a great tool to help children understand the concept of time, planning ahead and feeling in control and it’s a great writing exercise.
Also new to the LeapPad Ultra is the ability to connect with other LeapPad Ultra users that are in the same room, great fun for siblings and friends. Using the Pet Pad application kids can communicate with eachother using pre-selected words, groups of words, sentences and emoticons. This is a cool way for kids to learn how to build a sentence as they can hear out the loud the messages they have created.
One of our kids’ favourite things to do is get creative with Art Studio Ultra where they can draw, paint, stick, stamp and spray to their heart’s content (without making mess) and make photos and videos with the front and back camera (2MP). Other handy ‘office’ apps include a calculator, notepad, voice memo, mp3 player and clock. In total there are 10 apps and 1 free download included and with a very generous 8GB storage for photos, music, apps and more you won’t run out of room any time soon.
Of course there is plenty more fun to be had with the LeapPad Ultra, there are over 400 educator approved games, applications, eBooks, videos and more available in the LeapFrog App Centre/stores so you are never done learning. Parents can track their children’s progress via the LeapFrog Learning Path. Before you get worried that other LeapPad Explorer and LeapPad 2 games that you may already have have now become useless, rest assured that these are fully compatible with the LeapPad Ultra too. Any apps you downloaded onto your ‘old’ devices can also be installed on your new LeapPad Ultra provided you have not reached your maximum of five devices.
The LeapPad Ultra is fitted with a long-lasting Ion rechargeable battery that allows for a huge 9 hours of use, making it ideal for car trips and holidays. When the battery goes flat simply connect it to mains power (AC power adaptor is included) or your computer to be recharged. To keep your LeapPad Ultra safe you can add extra protection with a LeapPad Ultra Gel Skin ($19.99, green or purple) and the LeapPad Ultra Carry Case ($34.99, green or purple), which also offers storage space for 6 games.
If you want to stay up-to-date with all the latest LeapFrog news and specials make sure you keep an eye on the LeapFrog Australia Facebook page, that way you’re always the first to know.
To find out more about LeapFrog, to take a closer look at the LeapPad Ultra (RRP $229.99) and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.